Writing a Hit Single

Ever wonder how hard it must be to write a hit single in the music business? For the people that pay the artists (record companies), that's their goal. But for the artists who create them, that's decidedly not the goal.



Sure, they do wonders for bank accounts, fame, and notoriety, but music artists don’t begin their writing process with a goal to write hits.

Hits come from the strangest of places – some of the most popular tunes in history were created in minutes, off the cuff.

Take The Beatles song “Yesterday.”  Paul McCartney tells the story behind the song as coming to him in a dream, with the melody already fully formed.  When he awoke, he quickly wrote the chords and filled in the words to match.

And an all-time classic hit was born overnight.

Many times, artists are surprised that songs they’ve written go on to become hits.

The thing is…you don’t know until you do.

It’s the same in business when launching new products and services – you just don’t know (if it will be a hit) until you do.

The moral of the story – don’t overthink it.

The great musical artists never do, and neither should you.

We all make the same mistake – we cast OUR judgment before the world does, and so lots of would-be “hits” never make it out the door.

We let self-doubt creep in, or think it needs more work, or even worse – we are afraid of what people might think of it.

Who cares!

Let the world decide and who cares what the outcome is, hit or no hit.

You’ll know when you’re on to something when you get a reaction of any kind (good or bad) – the trick is to keep going.

The truth is nobody cares…

…. when you give up…

… when you decide it’s not good enough…

… or when you stay undecided.

They care when you keep showing up, persevere, and are resilient.

Consistency is a thing of beauty – it either builds or breaks something.

But at least something happens.

And something is always better than nothing.

Zero Sum

If the sum total is zero, what has been gained?

Take a look at the digitally connected world we live in today – a world where 3rd party aggregators or first-party walled garden conglomerates have hijacked mass audience and attention.

It’s everywhere you look.

In real estate – where audience and attention have moved to search portals and away from the actual transactors of real estate, the brokerages.

In travel – where airline companies are beholden to online travel sites that monetize their audience and sell the tickets.

In retail – where local mom and pop shops and big-box retailers have been swallowed whole by the all-mighty and getting mightier Amazon.

In hospitality, the auto industry, mortgage industry, movie industry, and the list goes on and on.

Brands have lost their audience to network effect leveraged aggregators, curators, and walled garden ecosystems (think Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Zillow, etc.)

Whatever business you’re in today – to get to your customer you need to go through someone else first, (and pay them mightily for it.)

But don’t pity the businesses who lost their audiences – the truth is, they let this happen to themselves.

Just like the record business decades ago, it started with a denial of the disruption in front of them, and then with a refusal to change their paradigm, and finally an utter lack of care, empathy, and understanding of the situation for all parties involved.

I think that change is in the air though, and brands are starting to wake up to the realization that having a loyal and recurring audience for their products and services is a hard-earned privilege that can never be taken for granted.

And hollow wordsmith sales posturing that’s sprayed across social media is like see-through cellophane – don’t say, just do.

Consumers have always been a lot smarter than they’ve been given credit for and now that they’re gone and hard to get back, it’s time to zero set and recenter on what really matters to them at the end of the day.

Make their life easier, less stressful, and filled with more joy by using your products or services.

It’s time to build back your castle and the moat around it.

And you don’t need to write a hit single to do it.

Document and distribute your authenticity and keep doing it – showing care and passion along the way.

The rest will take care of itself.

Stay unruly ~


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